Of course I could not go with Jie Jie. And as if to remind me of my reasons why, the Lady came. Sybylla. She called to me as I washed my hair, speaking through the water. I saw her eyes, her flowing hair, her face shaping the water as she reached out to me.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"A messenger from Brenn. We are waiting. In Constantinople. In the house of Theodorus. We wait for you. Come. Quickly. We are waiting."
I did not want to leave my friends. I did not want to leave my ship. I did not want to leave the sea. I was happy without Brenn. So I did nothing. Several days passed. And the Lady came again.
This time, she was in the sea. I could see her full body, my sealskin wrapped around her like a shawl.
"Do you not want it, selkie? Your sealskin? How warm it is. Do you not want it? Come. Come, selkie. Come."
She held out my skin and I jumped into the sea, my hands stretched—I felt it, my skin—was inside it. My skin. And then quickly I felt it slip away, the water too, my body, slipping.